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March 18, 2016

Serena Williams

Indian Wells, California

S. WILLIAMS/A. Radwanska

6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Second set you kind of said enough is enough and you really shut the door at the end. Did it have the feeling like a championship match where you wanted to go out there and putting the nail in the coffin in the semifinal match?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, those are definitely your words, but definitely felt like I wanted to go out there, and towards the end just really try my best to close it out. Even if it didn't work out, I at least wanted to try even harder.

Q. A bit of a slow start from you. When did you feel things start to go your way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just made a few errors in the beginning and then just started to get a bit more pumped up toward the middle.

Q. Did you notice that she was doing anything different against you tonight than she has maybe in the past?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, in the first set she served pretty much every ball to my forehand. I started reading it, so she obviously changed her strategy, which is obviously -- she's a very smart player, so she knows that you just can't go into the match and just do the exact same thing against anybody for the whole match.

But that's the only thing I noticed. She played a lot better.

Q. Are you conscious when you win the first 11 points in a set, second set, golden set is on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not even close. Never crosses my mind.

Q. Is that a bucket list item?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Never crossed my mind. Never thought about it. I'm just trying to win the match, not necessarily -- I guess I should try to win every single point. I guess I am. I know that's hard to do. Shvedova did it.

Q. You're now the oldest player to reach the Indian Wells final, breaking Navratilova's record. Does it give you gratification to break some of her longevity records?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely. Breaking any record is exciting. And, you know, especially someone like Martina's is really cool.

I guess that's awesome to be the grandma in the tournament. I guess.

Q. Can you talk a bit about what means to make the final? Obviously last year you were in the semifinal. You pulled out, and obviously all the hoopla your return. This year you're into the final now. Can you just elaborate a little bit?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's interesting. Definitely didn't think I would be in another final here ever. Then last year just really, really bad luck. I felt devastated that I wasn't in the final or at least even being able to play.

After the last final I had here, I never pictured myself being back. So it's interesting feeling.

Q. What do you think it will be like being back in a final here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, hopefully it will be very different than last final. (Smiling.) But my goal is just to be out there, and I think it's kind of cool that I can really close the door by being in the final again.

So I think it's something that really kind of came full circle.

Q. Everyone pretty much says, Oh, I wouldn't change anything in my life, but when asked if they could give advice to themselves as young people, Roger said he wished he was tougher; Djokovic said he wished he were more patient. If you could give a tip or two to the young Serena just emerging on the pro tour or as a teenager, what would you say?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would have stayed in gymnastics (laughter.) For a couple more years. Learned my aerials and back hand springs and all that other stuff. Just for a couple more years.

Q. How about the uneven bar?

Q. What about the uneven bar? Would that appeal to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I never did that. I always did floor and balance beam and stuff.

Q. Are you planning to watch the semifinal after this when you get done with your press conference?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I think I usually leave that up to Patrick. Yeah.

Q. No one really turns it on and powers it up in tennis quite like you do when you feel that you have had enough or that you feel you're maybe approaching a really tough point. Can you talk about that process, how that feels within you when you just really get in gear?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I really can't. I don't know. I mean, I can't describe it. I can't talk about it.

I just -- I don't think it's -- obviously it's something, but I don't know what it is. I just want to win and I just get really intense. But I just -- it's very difficult to describe.

Q. Before your match with Simona you said it was a good opportunity to find out where your game was at. Now that you've had one more game against a very tough opponent, where is your assessment where your game is at?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's good. Two tournaments, two finals, it's not bad. Hopefully I can just keep going.

Q. The other day you called that strength your inner tiger. Why do you think it took you so long today to find your inner tiger?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn't take me long. She was there. She didn't come out. She was just quiet, but she was quiet winning points. She won 11 points in a row. She was there.

Q. Talking about potential opponents, can you talk about your potential opponent for the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Both are great. Obviously me and Vika have had some incredible finals. We really get along great.

Karolina is a great server. She hits more aces than I do.

Q. Do you think either of these girls could provide maybe a compelling rival for you? Vika has had it for a couple years, but then she had her injury. Can you talk about them as a potential like rival?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think everyone is a rival, especially against me. They come out with a game I have never seen before.

But it's made me better.

Q. What do you think it will be like, the reception from the crowd and everything, being in a final and being on a stage that everything went badly 15 years ago? What do you think it will be like?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can only hope that it will be really positive. That's all I can hope for. I would love to walk out there with everyone, you know, clapping.

That's the only thing I can hope for.

Q. Is there any trepidation that you have walking out on to that center court anymore, or did you kind of put all those demons behind you last year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely not. Not recently. I mean, obviously when I first came back last year in the first couple of matches I did have some fear there, but lately, no.

Q. You have mentioned a few times hearing more, Go Serenas, Go USA chants. Do you think people are embracing you more now that they have seen you around for so long? Where do you think this shift has happened?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I believe that I have always had a tremendous amount of fans that have always been die hard, and I think other people are just really -- when you see athletes great or athletes that have been around for centuries, like me, you know, you just kind of appreciate them and realize they might not be around for the next century or two. You have to like take it in.

Q. It's not bad being grandma.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Great-grandma.

Q. We all know how 2001 was, but one thing I remember from that match you played, despite all the adversity, you played a great match. Can you talk about that side of it, the way you played despite everything going against and you coming out on top?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was amazing. It was an awful, awful, awful experience. I only got through it through just prayer.

I just remember saying, Just help me get through this. I don't even want to win. I believe I lost the first set maybe. And then somehow I just was holding the trophy after that. That's all I'm going to say about that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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